I have been following Densha Otoko recently. A friend in Tokyo tells me that people are starting to copy the "nerd style" of the main character. Two observations:
- Despite so much material for it, the Japanese are not that good at 'comedy of manners.' The best exception to this the movie Tampopo. But perhaps any culture that could create Iron Chef is incapable of true comedy of manners. (The secret of Iron Chef that the American version lacks is that while it is light-hearted in certain ways, the core really is serious. In the last episode the winner sobs unfeignedly on the shoulder of his opponent after the announcement. His opponent fought with two large photographs of his dead parents out in the audience box seats.)
- The popularity of Densha Otoko is surprising. At heart, maybe every Japanese really is otaku. Some are just better at feigning normal than others.